Your car is where you spend a large part of your week, commuting to and from work, getting groceries, taking little Jimmy to football practice and waiting to take him home. Whether you drive a Mustang Mach 1 or a 1998 Black Honda Accord Ex with Grey cloth interior with stains from the previous owner's children, a nice cleaning a waxing can make any car easy on the eyes. It may also make that hour long commute a little bit more enjoyable. This guide will show you how to clean your car like a professional, and help you keep it shining until you find the time to do so again. There are some fundamental facts you need to know before beginning to take care of your vehicle, and now it's time to learn some! For convenience, I have ordered these steps in the way that I clean my car, and I would generally recommend keeping them in this order. It works very well.
The procedures described in the following three steps are normally beneficial to your vehicle. However, if any damage occurs to your vehicle from following this instructable, the author cannot be held responsible.
Step 1: Exterior Cleaning
So you wanna get that great factory color to rebel against the dirt and grime covering your car and regain control? Well it needs a little help. This is where you come in. Begin with a nice clean bucket, a hose, a good car soap and a sponge (or other soft scrubbing utensil). I always begin my rinsing out the bucket to make sure there is nothing in there that would add scratches to my car. After that, read the label on your bottle of car soap for the specific amount to add. Once you have added the soap to the bucket, fill the bucket with water. I usually do this in a two step process. I begin by swirling the soap with the "Jet" setting on my hose head. Then, once the suds have built up, I move the hose head into the water and get a good amount of water going down under the suds.
Now that you have the perfect amount of suds and water, it is time to commence washing your car.
DO NOT WASH YOUR CAR ON AN EXCESSIVELY HOT OR SUNNY DAY! THE WATER WILL EVAPORATE TOO QUICKLY AND YOU WILL GET SOAP SPOTS ON YOUR CAR! WAIT FOR A COOLER, OVERCAST DAY!
As long as the day is cool and overcast, begin by rinsing down your car. It doesn't have to be extremely thorough, but start at the top of your car and rinse down along the sides. This is to remove any large particles of sediment that could scratch your paint when you begin scrubbing. It also helps to cool the body of your car, which will keep the water from evaporating more rapidly than usual.
When you begin washing your car, keep in mind the zones of washing, shown in the pictures below. Begin washing by rinsing the roof of your car with water, absorb some suds/water in your sponge or rag, and begin washing the roof in tight scrubbing circles. Go row by row across the roof section of your car. Keep the scrubbing rows parallel and overlapping, to prevent any gaps of uncleanliness. Once you are finished with the roof section of your car, rinse it thoroughly to remove the soap you used to scrub the dirt off.
Repeat the above paragraph, going section by section, top to bottom on your car. For me it goes: Roof>Windows and Roof Supports> Top of Hood and Upper Quarter panels> Middle of Doors and Trunk> Front Bumper, Lower Quarter Panels, Lower Doors, and Back Bumper. There is a reason beyond organization for this method of washing. When you drive your car, you pick up the heaviest and largest sediment on the frontal/lower surfaces of your car. You collect the lighter and smaller sediment on the Rear/Upper surfaces of your car.
Finally, when replenishing your soap supply in your sponge, wring it out anywhere except over your water bucket. If you do wring it out over your water bucket you will put all of the dirt you just scrubbed of straight into your water. Thus, when you scrub again, your putting dirt back on your car.